I love Atomic Fireballs. I am a huge cinnamon candy fan and I adore how these are too spicy to handle but quickly fade to a delightful treat. When I went to Germany as a teenager I consumed somewhere near 20 packs of Big Red cinnamon chewing gum and I think it forever damaged my taste buds. Sometimes life is like those fireballs, it is so unbearably spicy that I have to hold my breath and hope that something sweet will follow.
This weekend my adventure loving sister and I undertook a day trip to San Diego. The city on the bay is located about 2 1/2 hours from my lil' slice of the desert. So it was with images of white beaches and cool breezes that we set out at 6 am. We arrived with only slight stress as we navigated the unfamiliar highways and one way streets that led us to the Silver Strand State beach on Coronado. We paid our $8 to park and claimed our slice of beach. It was blissful, a few hours of reading, laying on the sand, sticking our toes in freezing water and a brief appearance by some friendly dolphins. Afterward we pulled off the sandy, sticky, change your clothes in the back of a car maneuver and headed off for a delicious lunch at a Mexican restaurant.
We left Coronado well rested and carried on our way to the sound of laughter as we passed the signs for the suicide prevention hot line that dotted the top of a large bridge from Coronado to San Diego.
We knew it would be a day trip so we planned very few activities but our next stop was the Gaslamp district which Google had recommended. After circling a 5 block area for 30 minutes searching for a spot to park we found a spot and felt that our determination had paid off. Normally we would not spend such a vast amount of time trying to park but we had see a Ghirdelli's ice cream shop and nothing keeps us girls from chocolate ice cream...NOTHING.
Full of decadent ice cream we decided that we had seen enough of this fine city for one day and we merrily set off in the direction of home. We were confident and excited that we would make it back in time to hang out with our Mom (who kindly dog sat while we cavorted around town) before she went to bed.When we stopped for gas and the liquid stink shot out of the car and spilled all down the side of my dress prompting laughter from the car behind me I really should have known the atomic part of this fireball day was about to hit. I had driven the whole way to San Diego so my sister kindly volunteered to take the first shift driving home. We cranked the volume on the stereo and prematurely congratulated ourselves on a road trip well done. We should have known better. As my sister glanced in her review mirror to complain about the car tailing her she noticed smoke. A lot of smoke. Smoke coming from our Jeep. Damn.
On the side of the exit ramp from the I-8 to Descanso, California (population 12)we were kindly informed by the park ranger that if we hadn't pulled over in such a timely manner our car would have burst into flames and set the whole surrounding grassy area on fire. We took a moment to imagine the headlines regarding the next California wildfire and thanked God we had pulled over quickly. We then waited, and waited, and took pictures of ourselves and the surrounding area as surely this was part of the trip worth fully documenting! An hour and a half after we saw the smoke we saw the tow truck driver. A ray of sunshine man who kindly regaled us with stories of plane crashes, serial killers and rapists as he drove us the 10 miles to Alpine, California. He left my car at the world's tiniest repair shop and dropped my sister and I at a surprisingly decent hotel. We found food and took long showers because, lets face it, the side of the road is not as clean as we would have liked!
The next morning we walked 30 minutes up hill in the hot sun to the repair shop to leave the keys and pray for the car to be fixed. My mom was driving her rental car from Yuma to Alpine to retrieve our sorry selves. We made it home that afternoon but my Jeep remains in Alpine and God only knows how I am going to get back there to retrieve it. The shop has kindly informed me that both the radiator and the transmission need to be replaced.Ouch. On the up side the dealership has agreed to pay for the transmission after the radiator is fixed.
I guess in this atomic fireball of a situation the only real sweet part is that I was with my sister who entertained me and kept me from imploding under the stress. Also, if there had only been me the tow truck diver would have scared the shit out of me instead of merely making me laugh...
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